Breathing Techniques to Relieve Stress and Calm the Nervous System
Implementing breathwork exercises to your daily routine has been shown to help your body relax, and it calms the mind. Deep breathing and relaxation promotes a relaxed parasympathetic nervous system, which sends a signal to your brain that you can feel safe, as opposed to being in fight or flight. Deep breathing allows for more oxygen to the pre-frontal cortex (or thinking brain,) which also promotes impulse control.
Here are simple breathing techniques to try:
This breath work exercise is also called the relaxing breath. You can perform this exercise lying in bed or sitting in a chair.
- Keep the tip of your tongue to the back of your front teeth for the entirety of the exercise.
- Completely exhale all air out of your mouth.
- Inhale through your nose to the count of 4.
- Hold your breath for the count of 7.
- Through your mouth, exhale all of the air through your mouth.
- Set a time for 5 minutes and continue to repeat this exercise.
This technique will get easier with time.
- While laying down, place one hand on your upper chest and one hand below your rib cage.
- Slowly inhale through your nose and feel your stomach press into your hand as your diaphragm expands.
- Exhale using pursed lips and keep your upper hand completely still.
This technique is also called coherent breathing, which can help get you easy anxiety.
- Lie down and keep your eyes closed.
- Inhale through your nose for 6 counts.
- Exhale through your mouth for 6 counts.
- Continue for up to 10 minutes.
Breathing exercises don’t have to take up a whole lot of time. Even just staring out with 5 minutes a day is beneficial. You can always increase your time as the exercise becomes more natural to you. All of these techniques are beneficial, and it’s a matter of finding one that works for you.